Are you pining for the old days when you knew everyone in the neighborhood? When your favorite college football team played opponents from just across the border?
I’m not talking about the Canadian or Mexican borders, either.
Anyway, you’re not alone. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson is on your side.
In a hasty press conference held at Romney Stadium prior to Saturday’s Utah State-UNLV game, Thompson said he prefers eight conference games to nine, mainly because nine games can ruin traditional rivalries.
In fact, nine Pac-12 games is threatening the Utah-BYU and Utah-USU series.
“We’re pretty hot at eight. It’s no secret that that’s one of the principal reasons Air Force plays Army and Navy. If they played nine (conference) games, that would give them just one game to schedule.
“Others in the (BCS) camp want to go to nine games, but I think, that’s one of the things in my mind – it’s the old school guy kind frustrations…
“In all that’s happened last two-plus years, we’ve got 10 or 12 games that have been played for over 100 years that are not on the docket any more, including potentially Utah State-Utah, who played couple weeks ago.”
Thompson did sound optimistic about the MWC being a regionally based, academically balanced conference.
“That’s a neat thing about future of the Mountain West,” he said. “In 2013 going forward, a school like Utah State has played I think Colorado State and Wyoming from the early 1900s. So we’re getting back and we have some rivalries that are over 50 games long; some of the rivalries started in the 1800s. So we’re kind going back to familiarity and geography and natural rivalries. I had a board member talking with me and he said ‘I like that.’ We’re kind of circling the wagons and going back to geographical regional.
“From a television perspective, we’re all in Mountain Time Zone and couple Pacifics — and of course Hawaii and it’s an anomaly anyway – but we’ve got natural rivalries and a part of the country that has familiarity. These fans have been knowing the opponents they played for decades, and so I think that’s something to build on.”
Thompson cited the rise of Utah and TCU in the middle of the last decade as a high point in the conference history. Both have moved on to bigger conferences. But can the MWC return to its former power, with teams in the top 10?
He said yes, “though it will take some time to develop.”